Nvidia are expected to be the only tech crew to drop brand new gaming-focused graphics cards on us this year, with the GTX 2080 likely to be the vanguard of a new generation of GeForce GPUs. Or maybe it’ll be named the GTX 1180 in strict numerical order, but we’re still to be convinced of that just yet…
You’ll need a quality display to go with a new graphics card, so check out our pick of the best gaming monitors around.
- Nvidia GTX 2080 release date
All the evidence is currently pointing towards a Q3 release for the new Nvidia graphics cards, which would put them in the September / October 2018 timeframe.
- Nvidia GTX 2080 specs
While we don’t know the specifics of the GPU architecture Nvidia will use in their gaming-focused cards, we’re still betting on a Volta GPU, a GV104 chip. That will make it a 12nm design, but with GDDR6 as opposed to the HBM2 Nvidia have used in the Tesla V100.
- Nvidia GTX 2080 price
The new top-end GeForce is likely to command the same price tag as the GTX 1080 Ti before it. That would make it at least $699.
- Nvidia GTX 2080 performance
The purpose of the newest GTX graphics cards is to give some credence to the claims of real-time raytracing being the future of gaming, and so they’re going to have to deliver on that front. At that price they’ll have to best the GTX 1080 Ti in normal games too.
Nvidia haven’t yet announced the naming, let alone the architecture, behind their next generation of gaming cards but we’ve got a pretty good idea of the technology that’s going to be powering them and when they’re likely to arrive.
While there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of a new Nvidia Turing architecture being the basis of the new GeForce cards, we’re still expecting the green team to stick with their usual modus operandi and launch either the GTX 2080 or GTX 1180 cards using the same Nvidia Volta architecture they’ve been working on for the last few years.
With Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference passing without mention of a new architecture, and not even a new GPU roadmap unveiling, it seems increasingly unlikely that they would announce and launch a new graphics architecture with a fresh GeForce GTX card. If Turing is a thing then it could well just be the codename given to the gaming versions of Volta.
Here’s hoping the miners and speculators don’t swallow them all up when they do launch and we actually get to see some new graphics cards on the shelves come the end of the year.
We’re expecting Nvidia to finish the year with a bang and launch their new generation of GeForce graphics cards around September and October. The latest rumours have pegged this Q3 release date because SK Hynix will be seriously cranking up volume production of GDDR6 in around three months time.
They’re not the only ones making GDDR6 memory, with Samsung and Micron both getting involved in the new graphics memory technology.
But we have heard other rumours, such as the one from Massdrop, which also point to the autumn release date. It’s not unprecedented for Nvidia to release brand new cards as the leaves fall; the original GTX 900 series arrived after a September unveiling too.
If Nvidia stick with tradition, and use the existing Volta GPU technology, then the GTX 2080 will arrive sporting a GV104 GPU, but just what sort of configuration that chip might have is still up for debate.
The Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) of the current Volta chip is chock full of silicon designed for machine learning and inference, and how much of that will make the transition over to the gaming GPU we don’t yet know.
With the Pascal generation, Nvidia stripped out the double precision cores for the GP104 silicon, and they may do the same with Volta. Historically they would then push the SMs together - with the GP100, for example, there were 10 SMs in a general processing cluster (GPC) and then just five in a GP104 GPC, despite having the same number of CUDA cores in each cluster. Each SM then has double the cores sharing the same instruction cache and shared memory.
I’m not sure that will work out the same for a gaming Volta SM, as there is still some silicon inside the current Volta design which will come in useful in games which take advantage of the new DirectX Raytracing from Microsoft and the Volta-specific RTX tech from Nvidia themselves. That’s not likely to be stripped out, so the final gaming SM structure might be very similar to the current GV100 design.
That’s not just limited to the new Tensor cores, but that new silicon definitely helps in cleaning up a raytraced image. And that means, despite what we initially expected, gaming Volta cards could still come with Tensor cores in the package. With WinML also looking to bring machine learning into the gaming space we’re likely to see more pro-level silicon remaining in our gaming GPUs in the future.
But we think it’s probably quite likely Nvidia would stick with the same overall GPC structure, and switch to four GPCs for a potential GV104 design. That would give the GTX 2080 a total of 3,584 CUDA cores and 224 texture units, which would give a nice symmetry with the GTX 1080 Ti it would likely replace.
On the memory side it looks almost certain a GTX 2080 would come with GDDR6 support rather than the more expensive, and largely unnecessary for gaming, HBM2. Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron are all going to town on the new graphics memory, and both Samsung and SK Hynix have specifically mentioned the tech playing a key role in this year’s next-gen graphics card releases. And it doesn’t look like AMD will be doing anything so that just leaves a single player in the game…
Given the amount of work the GPU is going to have to do, and the amount of data needed to be shunted around, with real-time raytracing it wouldn’t be surprising to see 12GB of GDDR6 being used on the top-end Volta gaming cards.
Graphics cards are expensive beasts and most especially in these troubled, frontier-like, crypto-goldrush times of ours. And, when you factor in the new GDDR6 memory technology costing some 20% more than its GDDR5 forebear, then it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the top-end GTX 2080 coming in at around $699 at launch. Or potentially even more.
It seems Nvidia have dropped their ridiculous Founders Edition schtick, so that would be the base, reference model price tag. Expect any and all overclocked, or third-party cooled, versions of the GTX 2080 to come nearer $800 - $1,000.
The GTX 2070 would likely then start at the same price as the GTX 1080 started out at. Yeah, ouch. The GTX 2060 won’t come soon enough with those launch prices...
Without any actual competition at the high-end of the graphics market Nvidia know that they can almost price with impunity, knowing people will pay because there is no other performance alternative.
A lack of competition is definitely not going to do us consumers any favours at all.
The new 20-series graphics cards are going to have to be capable of real-time raytracing. That’s going to be one of the first tests anyone does when they get their hands on both the new cards and Futuremark’s upcoming 3DMark raytracing benchmark.
Obviously it will also need to game like a frickin’ hero, and, given that it will potentially appear at the same initial price-point as the GTX 1080 Ti, it has to outperform the fastest of the last generation GeForce graphics cards in traditional gaming workloads too. And that’s no mean feat.
This page is regularly updated with all the latest news, rumours, and info about the potential Nvidia GTX 2080 or GTX 1180 graphics cards. Bookmark away and let us know your thoughts about it in the comments below.
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